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Senators unbeaten since their day in Central Park

Thursday, 02.04.2010 / 1:15 PM / NHL Insider

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Ottawa Senators' 10-game winning streak has no doubted been fueled on the offensive by the returns of Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza.

Alfredsson has 7 goals and 6 assists in his first nine games back from injury, including the game-winning goal against Buffalo on Wednesday night. Spezza has scored a goal in each of his first six games, and scored twice against the Sabres, since his return to the lineup following knee surgery. Both Ottawa stars have scored a game-winning goal during the streak. 

Plus, no argument, Brian Elliott and Mike Brodeur have played superbly in goal during the 10-spot. 

But aren't we missing the big picture? The real reason, er, tongue-firmly-in-cheek reason, why the Senators can't be beaten?

It all goes back to an outdoor fun day the team had in New York's Central Park on Jan. 13, the day before the team defeated the Rangers at Madison Square Garden to kick off the Senators' longest win streak in franchise history. Apparently dodgeball on skates equals a 10-game winning streak as the Sens welcome in those road warriors, the Vancouver Canucks, Thursday night. 

Skeptical? Just listen to what Mike Fisher said after the outdoor party.

"I think that could be a season-changer for us."

What was Ottawa's record before the outdoor fun day? 22-21-4. What's Ottawa's record since that day?  10-0-0.

Coincidence? Probably. But it shows what a break in routine and some fresh New York air can do for a team.

And it was all thanks to Sens coach Cory Clouston, who had the idea to let his guys take a mental rest day when things were going badly. Will they name the Jack Adams Award after him because of this? Doubtful, but Clouston definitely belongs in the coach of the year conversation if his team continues to play like this.

"The timing couldn't be better, to be honest," he said then of the day in Central Park. "The guys are working hard but they aren't getting the results and feel a lot of pressure on them. I think it was a real good time to step away from it."

To paraphrase the great Stephen Colbert -- Good time? Or the greatest time?

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter at: @DLozoNHL

Quote of the Day

There's no discouragement in that room. There's no issues there at all to be honest with you. It's more about, 'Hey, it's opportunities for players.' And if we become that bad of a team because of one player, it's not a real good sign for our hockey club. So this is part of sports. It's part of hockey.

— Bruins coach Claude Julien on the loss of Zdeno Chara to injury
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